Well friends, we did it! We made it to the end of 2020! I hope you take some time to sit and process what you’ve learned this year. It was hard, yes, but I bet God did some really great stuff in you through it.
We ask God to give us a word every year. It kind of anchors us to what He is wanting us to focus on every year. The Lord gave me the word TRAIN for 2020. I knew that word was going to be a blessing and a challenge. I took it very seriously.
“Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us,” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 MSG).
“Isn’t it obvious that all runners on the racetrack keep on running to win, but only one receives the victor’s prize? Yet each one of you must run the race to be victorious. A true athlete will be disciplined in every respect, practicing constant self-control in order to win a laurel wreath that quickly withers. But we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever. For that reason, I don’t run just for exercise or box like one throwing aimless punches, but I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body and get it under my control, so that after preaching the good news to others I myself won’t be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 TPT).
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it,”
(Proverbs 22:6 NKJV).
Training is important and it doesn’t just happen. It’s not something you can wish for and then magically see fruit. It takes effort, practice and repetition. I actually had to plan for and practice training. Here is how I was intentional in my training this year:
Trained my body – I was serious about working out, eating right, drinking water, and getting good sleep. I lost weight and gained muscle. When I started this year, I could not do one push up… not even one! Now I can do a couple! 😉 I stopped drinking sodas and limited sweet treats. Sparkling waters got me through my need for carbonation.
Trained my mind – this has not been a priority for me since I graduated college. I have been pretty lazy with my mind. In 2019, I read two books total and one of them was the Bible. I set a goal to read 100 books this year and I just hit it! I can’t even believe it, but it happened! I am not ever going to be a person who sits down and reads but audible books have changed my life. I listen to books while I’m in the car and while I’m cleaning the house. I intentionally chose books by authors who think differently than me. I learned and grew from their perspectives. I also have several podcasts that I listen to every week that challenge me and make me think.
Trained my soul – this year was all about resetting unhealthy patterns that I had established. I’ve written about this before but I am way too much of a people pleaser. I want to be everyone’s answer for every problem. It’s a prideful thing in me that offers to help so that I can feel good about helping. But then when I’m done helping, I’m exhausted, my family gets whatever is left of my energy, and I’ve set up the expectation that I will help again next time. I knew the Lord needed me to practice the opposite so that I could break that unhealthy cycle. 2020 was actually a huge blessing for this because I couldn’t just jump up to help. I could pray for people from my house and that was about it. (Please know that it’s not my heart to become a selfish, unhelpful person! I just needed a better balance.)
Trained my Spirit – I was in the Word every day. I decided in March, during the very first week of lock down, that I was determined to allow Jesus to accomplish whatever He wanted to in me. I believed that God had a plan and was trustworthy. I knew that He was using this year to develop me. I asked God who He wanted me to be at the end of all of this Covid stuff and then I chased that woman down. My faith grounded me and with the Holy Spirit’s help I had a lot of peace this year. I did not allow myself to give in to panic or dread.
Little did I know when He spoke the word train to me that some of the training would be pretty stinking brutal. I was turned down (or just flat out ignored!) for about 100 jobs. The rejection was very real! I missed our church family so badly when we couldn’t meet in person. I went to our church on Easter and sat in the empty room and cried.
Jesus was so faithful to speak the word train to me before the chaos of the year began. I had a word from Him that gave this season purpose. He wasn’t going to waste my training but was using it to prepare me. I haven’t navigated this perfectly but this has been one of my favorite years ever. I pray that you can see ways that you have grown when you look back over your year. Get a word for 2021 and hold onto it.